NGP Is The Final Nail In Coffin Of Second Hand Games

In between all the details that were revealed with the announcement of the successor to the PSP was the fact that games will be stored on flash cards.  With all the excitement, this small yet crucial piece of information has largely gone unnoticed despite the significant implications it potentially has. I have to admit it has taken most of a day for this fact to really sink in for what it actually means.  At this early stage it is not certain if the game will need to be transferred from the flash card to the internal memory of the NGP but you will also have the option to buy the game digitally through the PSN store.  Which I am a supporter of and applaud Sony if this is the route they are going down, but there is a large part of the gaming community who will not like this.  Those who buy and sell games second hand.

PC gamers have been used to the concept now for several years with Steam but even they have not had to deal with many exclusively digital games, they could always buy the game on a DVD if they prefer.  Increasingly, even if you purchased the PC-DVD version, you had to register it with a digital distribution service and effectively remove any option you had to sell it on second hand. The PSP Go now looks as if it was Sony dipping their toe into the digital distribution market and of course PlayStation3 games can now also be purchased through PSN through the wonder of  digital distribution.

The bottom line here is that once you buy the game this way, it is yours and no-one elses, nor can it ever be anyone elses as it is tied to your digital identity, your PSN account. If the transfer rate of the flash cards is not high enough, it conceivable that you will have no choice but to install the game and probably tie it to your PSN account.

Sony may surprise me and already have some really smart and impressive way that a digital game can be disassociated from your account and sold on to someone else but you can be sure it will have to be sold through PSN in some way, thereby guaranteeing Sony a cut of the second hand market, a second bite of the cherry.  This has long been a problem with games publishers as in the current second hand market, they don’t get a penny if a game is sold on.

Is the NGP the answer that publishers have been looking for and one that Sony hinted at when the PlayStation3 itself was announced back in 2006?  What do you think?

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  • As long as they have the right price point for games, it should be ok. Without printing and packaging to consider, hopefully, Sony gives us a drastically lower prices. Also, they need sales – pretty good ones. Case in point: Steam Sales.

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  • I have to agree with the poster above; if the price is right, it shouldn’t matter. Speaking of the pspgo, it looked to fail initially due to the high prices of games on psn. Sony luckily wizened up and slashed prices on many psn games. Just don’t get too greedy sony and I say you have a winner.

  • Red

    Sony has a reputation for charging full retail price for digital games, and continues to do so. We would be insane to think that Sony, of all huge corporations, would offer sales that involve a publisher’s entire catalog for the price of a brand new game. The business model for a structure like that has never been established in the mainstream console realm, it would be shocking if Sony (a huge electronics corporation with a history of short sighted arrogance across all their divisions) were the first to take the initiative. Stranger things have happened though.

    Until there is a Steam like structure established, digital download will not surpass physical media in the mainstream. Without reliable proof that console manufacturers and big publishing will quit charging whatever they feel like for digital media, as they so lovingly do now, the products reliant on digital media will suffer. The reason Steam and smartphone app stores work is the fact that prices can be set at a fraction of what they would go for retail. The reason full retail game download and Sony’s app store style “Minis” failed this generation was because it was doing less than Steam and smartphone app stores for twice the cost.

    Under gaming’s current inflated business model, the one that has caused game development costs to rise exponentially in the last ten years, a failure of the used market would cause the whole industry to crash. As little as publishers openly admit to it, games are luxury items, ones that many would not be able to purchased without the revenue selling their old game nets them. Don’t, for a second, think the business minds being paid huge money by publishers don’t understand this. They do not want to destroy the used market, they want to devalue it so they can put their fingers in the used market pie. Their words might suggest they think that buying used is tantamount to stealing, and that the industry would do better without it. Their actions, however, suggest they know the used market constitutes a huge part of consumer spending on new games, and they simply want to devalue it on their own terms by doing what they can to secure their own cut in that market.

    Don’t fall for the game of corporate deception big publishing plays on the daily. These people are not dumb, they know the current bloated and toxic business models they run on are too expensive for the industry to sustain. Their business models are so toxic that we’ve gotten to the point where only the most mainstream of titles even pull a profit, because these mainstream big budget games has raised the cost of developing all games regardless of genre, effectively pricing anything without mass appeal right out of the market. The further consolidated the market becomes, the more money it costs to sustain it, and publishers know damn well that the used market is the primary way for the average consumer to offset the cost of the new mainstream games that are sustaining the entire industry. The don’t want to be rid of the used market, they want to guilt the consumers into allowing them to get a cut in it. It’s a shame how many people have fallen for this thinly veiled classic business tactic.

  • I think you’re confused. From my understanding, the NGP games are going to be available in stores on a proprietary format of Flash memory cards (similar to Nintendo DS games). Each game card you buy will also have enough extra onboard memory to store save files and DLC for that particular game so people won’t have to clog the NGP onboard memory or mess with additional memory cards.

    In other words, there will be physical copies of games. There will be nothing stopping you from selling them. This article needed more research before it was hastily slapped on N4G.

  • Well less used games, more DD, and less money for retail all drive down the cost of games. Because of this games can cost as much as last generation PSP titles rather than more than that.
    I just got into the whole buying and selling of used games to play everything I’ve missed so far. But for the PSP2, cheaper games is bigger for the masses than inability to sell your games.